Public Asked to Protect Honey Bees by Reporting Sightings of the Invasive Asian Giant Hornet

Posted July 2, 2020 at 9:35 am by

Hon­ey bee col­lect­ing pollen — Pho­to by Vesi Boy­che­va

OLYMPIA—As sum­mer gets into full swing and peo­ple spend more time out­side, state and fed­er­al offi­cials and local bee­keep­ers hope the pub­lic will keep their eyes open and report any sight­ings of Asian giant hornet.

“When it comes to pre­vent­ing and stop­ping a new inva­sive species, we all have a role to play and this is a great exam­ple,” said Justin Bush, exec­u­tive coor­di­na­tor of the Wash­ing­ton Inva­sive Species Coun­cil. “The first detec­tion of Asian giant hor­net in the entire Unit­ed States was made by an aware mem­ber of the pub­lic. Every oth­er detec­tion since has been made by every­day cit­i­zens. Being aware of new plants and ani­mals or changes in your com­mu­ni­ty and then let­ting experts know if some­thing seems like a prob­lem can save thou­sands, if not mil­lions of dol­lars, in damages.”

Click to enlarge

This bee-killer already has been spot­ted in two dif­fer­ent cities in Wash­ing­ton this year even though Asian giant hor­nets aren’t expect­ed out in larg­er num­bers until July or August. That’s when work­er hor­nets become active and the queens stop leav­ing the nests.

The hor­nets tend to be most active in the sum­mer and fall when work­ers search for food away from their nests. Offi­cials ask the pub­lic to report sight­ings as quick­ly as pos­si­ble and give details of what they saw and where. Pho­tographs are strong­ly encour­aged if they can be tak­en safe­ly. If the hor­net is dead, please save it for test­ing. Reports may be made using the Wash­ing­ton Depart­ment of Agriculture’s (WSDA) Hor­net Watch Report Form, the WA Inva­sives report­ing app or on the Wash­ing­ton Inva­sive Species Council’s Web site.

For those who wish to trap hor­nets on their own land and report results to the agency, WSDA cre­at­edcit­i­zen sci­en­tist trap­ping infor­ma­tion. No com­mer­cial traps are avail­able for Asian giant hor­nets. While any­one can get involved with trap­ping, res­i­dents of Clal­lam, Island, Jef­fer­son, San Juan, Skag­it, and What­com Coun­ties espe­cial­ly are encour­aged to participate.

“The pub­lic has, and con­tin­ues to, play a crit­i­cal role in the response to Asian giant hor­net,” said Sven Spichiger, man­ag­ing ento­mol­o­gist for the WSDA. “We can only put up so many traps, but if peo­ple are on the look­out for them, it great­ly increas­es our odds of find­ing and erad­i­cat­ing them.”

When Asian giant hor­net reports are con­firmed by WSDA addi­tion­al traps like­ly will be placed in the area to help deter­mine the exact loca­tion of an Asian giant hor­net nest. WSDA will erad­i­cate nests when they are found.

“We are close­ly mon­i­tor­ing the sit­u­a­tion and pro­vid­ing tech­ni­cal and finan­cial sup­port to WSDA as they work to find and erad­i­cate this pest,” said Tim St. Ger­main, State Plant Health direc­tor with U.S. Depart­ment of Agriculture’s Ani­mal and Plant Health Inspec­tion Ser­vice (APHIS). “These finds indi­cate that there’s a pop­u­la­tion of Asian giant hor­nets in north­west Wash­ing­ton, but APHIS does not con­sid­er the pop­u­la­tion to be estab­lished. APHIS con­sid­ers a pest to be estab­lished in an area when there is evi­dence of a repro­duc­ing pop­u­la­tion over mul­ti­ple years.”

For more infor­ma­tion, vis­it the WSDA Web page ded­i­cat­ed to Asian giant hor­net, as well as theWash­ing­ton Inva­sive Species Coun­cil’s Web site where resources, Webi­na­rs and fact sheets on all types of inva­sive species are avail­able. Join a net­work of cit­i­zen sci­en­tists trap­ping Asian giant hor­net by vis­it­ing the WSDA trap­ping Web page.

You can support the San Juan Update by doing business with our loyal advertisers, and by making a one-time contribution or a recurring donation.

Categories: Animals, Safety, Science, Wildlife

No comments yet. Be the first!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

By submitting a comment you grant the San Juan Update a perpetual license to reproduce your words and name/web site in attribution. Inappropriate, irrelevant and contentious comments may not be published at an admin's discretion. Your email is used for verification purposes only, it will never be shared.

Receive new post updates: Entries (RSS)
Receive followup comments updates: RSS 2.0